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Old 06-27-2020, 10:18 AM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Default 639 Project Gun

As stated in a previous thread, I decided I wanted to spare my heirloom Model 39-2 from the rigors of heavy carrying and shooting, so I found a “beater” Model 639 to play first chair. Here it is at home after a quick trip to the range where it was successfully fired with 4 different mags and two kinds of ammo. Note that especially on the left side of the frame there are some pretty gross handling marks, which I hope to clean up somewhat in the course of the build. Stay tuned!

Froggie
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Old 06-27-2020, 11:26 AM
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I Love the Look! I, as well have a Nickle 39-2...just sits, looking nice! That 639 is gorgeous to me...even with use scratches!
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Old 06-27-2020, 12:07 PM
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Love the 639 - I’ll stay tuned!


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Old 06-27-2020, 01:06 PM
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I personally think the 639’s are really cool pistols. They are a great candidate for a rehab project and are worth the time/money put into them. Unlike blued examples they are easier to make “new” again.

I’ve posted about mine before so this is just a reminder. I got it in a box, as in it was a box of parts. Many parts were missing and it looked like it had been dragged down a gravel road. Like new original ambi grips and right side safety/de-cock lever and screw were the hardest parts to find. I put in a 3rd Gen ambi but have since got a lever and screw. (I’m leaving the 3rd Gen one in.) I also got a few excellent original magazines just because.

I probably made it too shiny but at least it looks better than it did when I got it.

Jim
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Old 06-27-2020, 06:58 PM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Looks good to me, Jim. I'n running into one new and unexpected problem. I have a hard time getting the slide to come off as well as to go back on. When I tried to put the 439 slide on it didn't seem very happy and I really had to manipulate it a lot. Compared to the other semi-auto pistols I've worked with (most notably the 1911) it seems pretty obstinate to me, with the original slide or the substitute. Is this normal, or a sign something is wrong, or is there a trick I missed out on?

Froggie

PS I know about the little levers near the back of the frame... mine has 3... but even getting them to go down doesn't free the slide to settle without a lot of fiddling.

Last edited by Green Frog; 06-27-2020 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 06-27-2020, 07:19 PM
BLACKHAWKNJ BLACKHAWKNJ is offline
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"A beater" ? IMHO a steel frame is heavy duty, a stainless steel handgun is all-weather, neither rain nor snow nor sweat will bother it. Target shooters never clamored for lightweight frames.
Can't get that 439 slide to fit ? Interchangeable parts-won't. I bought a small letter slide for my Colt Mark IV-I had to use some grinding compound to get it to fit.

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Old 06-27-2020, 07:44 PM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Originally Posted by BLACKHAWKNJ View Post
"A beater" ? IMHO a steel frame is heavy duty, a stainless steel handgun is all-weather, neither rain nor snow nor sweat will bother it. Target shooters never clamored for lightweight frames.
Can't get that 439 slide to fit ? Interchangeable parts-won't. I bought a small letter slide for my Colt Mark IV-I had to use some grinding compound to get it to fit.
Yeah, but the original slide doesn't go on and off easily either! I'm wondering whether there is a burr or something I should look for, or perhaps a trick to reassembly? Is there a full moon coming up any time soon? Should I be examining chicken entrails?

Froggie
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Old 06-27-2020, 11:28 PM
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Getting the slide off of and on to the receiver is filled with bumps and drag spots. All those levers create a unique experience with disassembly and assembly. As long as the slide moves smoothly in its normal area of movement during recoil, odds are that it's ok.
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Old 06-28-2020, 07:33 AM
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Now all you need is its "Big Brother", a 659!
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:33 AM
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Now all you need is its "Big Brother", a 659!
The double stack grip frames feel too bulky in my hand... I just feel better with the smaller 39 series frames. I guess I’ll have to settle for a bunch of mags with 8 rounds in each.

Froggie
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Old 06-29-2020, 06:48 AM
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The double stack grip frames feel too bulky in my hand... I just feel better with the smaller 39 series frames. I guess I’ll have to settle for a bunch of mags with 8 rounds in each.

Froggie
If you use 3904 or 3906 mags, you get 9 rounds. I have read that swapping in the follower and spring for the 3913 will turn 39 magazines into 9 round mags. Not sure one extra round is worth the effort, but for some people I suppose it means a lot.
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Old 07-01-2020, 10:08 PM
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IT’S ALIVE!! I finally got around to sitting down and rearranging parts. In a lot of ways, the 39 series are beginning to seem like an erector set for grown ups. The 39-2 is a little more simple than the second and third generations, at least to me, but overall, as I become familiar with them, the modularity and interchangeability become more and more obvious. “What a long strange trip it’s been!”

Froggie
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Old 07-02-2020, 07:08 AM
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IT’S ALIVE!! I finally got around to sitting down and rearranging parts. In a lot of ways, the 39 series are beginning to seem like an erector set for grown ups. The 39-2 is a little more simple than the second and third generations, at least to me, but overall, as I become familiar with them, the modularity and interchangeability become more and more obvious. “What a long strange trip it’s been!”

Froggie
Nice! The rear of the slide and the rear of the receiver actually seem to mate quite well. A lot of the time there will be a visible mismatch. The first gen pistols lack the firing pin safety system, so they have fewer parts. The lack of the firing pin safety can also lead to a better feeling trigger.
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Old 07-02-2020, 08:46 AM
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I’m not 100% sure of course, since it was an “orphan” I bought from gun choker or flea Bay; but all the features of the slide lead me to believe it is 2nd Generation, so I had at least a fair chance of it mating up with the 639 to at least an acceptable degree. For a while I considered going with a Gen 3 slide to get the heavier nose with dovetail cut for the front sight , but decided that qualified as “diminishing returns” and since this slide was already here I used it. I still may look into installing an adjustable rear sight from a Model 52 (that I still have stashed from yet another project) but I want to see how the gun works with all of the mix of parts it has now.

I see what you mean about the addition of the firing pin safety adding to the complexity of the 2nd and 3rd Gen pistols, but I guess that’s just the price I have to pay to get the stainless frame I want... there were no stainless examples of the 39-2, AFAIK. I’ll have to live with the extra levers and get used to fiddling with them when assembling and disassembling the gun. I’m relieved that when I shot the 639 donor gun and the old 39-2 side by side, the extra pieces moving around inside the 639 was not all that noticeable.

The project continues... stay tuned!

Froggie
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Old 07-02-2020, 02:46 PM
BLACKHAWKNJ BLACKHAWKNJ is offline
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The M639 is greatly under appreciated IHMO. Mine is one of only four handguns I purchased NIB, has a VERY smooth trigger.
I also have an M659, makes a good combo with my Marlin 9MM Camp Carbine.
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Old 07-03-2020, 06:57 AM
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I

I see what you mean about the addition of the firing pin safety adding to the complexity of the 2nd and 3rd Gen pistols, but I guess that’s just the price I have to pay to get the stainless frame I want... there were no stainless examples of the 39-2, AFAIK.

Froggie
Yes and no. There was no production run of stainless receiver 39-2's, but it seems to me that there were a few factory made 39-2's in stainless. I think these few pistols were for demonstration purposes, aimed at law enforcement sales. Bole Industries Inc. made about 200 aftermarket 39-2 receivers in stainless before the BATF shut down their operation. These receivers are marked Model 39-SS on the left side, on the right side Northridge, CA. and a triangle with the letters BII inside the triangle.
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Old 07-08-2020, 10:47 AM
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I guess this will wrap up this thread. After the abortive first run to the range only to discover a broken firing pin, I went back yesterday and had my “Franken-Smith” go through a nearly full box of junky Norinco FMJ ball without a bobble. Now I’ll let the project simmer on the back burner for a while to consider whether I like the non-adjustable sights or need to change them, and to what(?)

Dad’s beautiful heirloom 39-2 (lh image) can now repose securely in the safe, only coming out for light exercise on special occasions. The “Franken-Smith” (rh) can do all the heavy lifting.

Froggie
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